Against Honduras, no drama please

Posted by David Faitelson

A quote from one of my favorite soccer philosophy "books": In soccer you can win, you can lose and you can draw. Is it really that simple?

To say that Mexico has three potential "open results" at the end of this week when it plays a World Cup qualifier at the tough pitch in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is not nonsense or oversimplification. It has its foundation, its secret. I will attempt to explain.

The Mexican National Team encounters a passionate environment every time the team visits a Central American rival. But up to now I’ve never seen that the hotel serenade on the eve of the game, the rocks thrown at the bus, the shouting, the insults, the flooded locker rooms, the afternoon heat and the pressure of a fired up stadium lead to a goal scored or determine the final result. Mexico is aware of what type of "hell" --if you prefer to call it that-- could await on Honduran soil.

However, I believe that the worst "Honduran monster" that Mexico will find in San Pedro Sula is not the radical Central American fans, but rather the ability of a national team with good soccer players – some of whom play in high-level European leagues – with a structured work plan, with a serious coach and who no doubt will be one of the favorites to win one of three automatic CONCACAF spots for Brazil 2014. Mexico must arm itself with respect --moreso than fear-- for facing Honduras’ National Team, not for facing the typical Central American soccer environment.

Speaking of an "open result" also alludes to level playing conditions. Despite the fact that Mexico had a slow start to the final round hexagonal --not earning points at home against an inferior opponent in Jamaica-- that doesn’t mean that the Mexican National Team will travel to Honduras and be "overzealous." The game will be tough, hard-fought and with few scoring chances. Honduras will start out as the favorite and Mexico will have to break out its best talent. In the end, an "open result," any of soccer’s three available scenarios, is possible, period.

Some people go to great lengths to draw the worst-possible scenario for Mexico. Let me remind you of something: We’re talking about visiting San Pedro Sula, not Madrid. The game will be played at the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano and not at the Santiago Bernabeu. And the rival is Honduras, not Spain’s National Team. So please, let’s not invent drama where it doesn’t exist.

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